Michael Atkins is truly an example of how someone can start from the bottom and make it to the top. Years ago, Atkins started out as a custodian at Rachel B. Noel Middle School in the greater Denver area. On Monday, he had his first day as principal at Stedman Elementary School.

The career achievement provides a full circle moment for Atkins. He attended Stedman as a 6-year-old and fondly remembers playing basketball on the school's court.

"This has been a part of my story — Park Hill, Stedman has been a part of my story, and I've learned so much just from walking these streets," he told Denver's 9News.

Through work, he ran into his second grade teacher from Bromwell Elementary School, who helped him secure a position as a paraprofessional at the school. This chance encounter kicked off his teaching career.

"I took pride in the bathrooms I cleaned. I took pride in the rooms that I vacuumed," he said.

"I'm home. I'm home. This is home for me. Park Hill is home for me."

He worked his way up from paraprofessional teacher to become a full time teacher and then assistant principal. 

Atkins told another local news outlet that the connection he forged with his second grade teacher was one that he still holds today, and hopes to foster with other students at his school.

"This teacher took the time and the opportunity to form a relationship that opened a door for me," Atkins said

"What I want for my brown students, my Black students or my white students is to experience diversity at a high level. It was the relationship that I was able to build at 7 years old that opened up the doors for me in education. It definitely speaks to me of why I do this."